Carry-Over of Force Production Symmetry in Athletes of Differing Strength Levels

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Carry-over of force production symmetry in athletes of differing strength levels. J Strength Cond Res 29(11): 3188–3196, 2015—This study sought to determine the level of association between bilateral force production symmetry assessment methods (standing weight distribution [WtD], unloaded and lightly loaded jumps, and isometric strength) and to determine whether the amount of symmetry carry-over between these tasks differs for strong and weak athletes. Subjects for this study included male (n = 31) and female (n = 32) athletes from National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I sports. Athletes performed WtD, unloaded and lightly loaded (20 kg) static and countermovement jumps, and isometric midthigh pull (IMTP) assessments on 2 adjacent force plates. Ground reaction force data were used to calculate symmetry variables and performance-related variables. Using Pearson zero order correlations, evaluations of the amount of symmetry carry-over were made. Weight distribution correlated strongly with jump peak force (PF) (r = 0.628–0.664). Strong relationships were also observed between loading conditions for jump variables (r = 0.568–0.957) as were the relationships between jump types for PF, peak power, and net impulse (r = 0.506–0.834). Based on the pooled sample, there was a lack of association between IMTP and WtD for jump symmetry variables. However, when examining strong and weak groups, rate of force development showed moderate to strong symmetry carry-over in the strongest athletes (r = 0.416–0.589). Stronger athletes appear to display similar explosive strength symmetry characteristics in dynamic and isometric assessments, unlike weaker athletes. Strength seems to influence the amount of force production symmetry carry-over between bilateral assessments. There may be optimal loads and variables for symmetry assessment, but these may differ based on population characteristics.